Monday, June 6, 2011

All Eyes on Antonio Villaraigosa

Posted by Fix Expo Team On May - 25 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

We just received some big news! A third MTA board member has been secured for the Mark Ridley-Thomas motion to underground the entirety of the Crenshaw-LAX Line and return the Leimert Park Village station to the project.

The following is a release we sent on the issue:

ALL EYES ARE ON VILLARAIGOSA ON CRUCIAL MTA CRENSHAW-LAX LINE SUBWAY VOTE
With 3 of the 7 Votes Needed for Passage Secured, the Mayor’s 4 Votes Will Be Pivotal

Los Angeles, CA – At Thursday morning’s MTA meeting, the board members will vote on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to underground the entirety of the Crenshaw Blvd portion of the Crenshaw-LAX Light Rail Line and return the Leimert Park Village station to the project. In addition to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Supervisor Mike Antonovich openly supports the motion, and a third board member has expressed their support privately. With 7 votes needed for passage, all eyes are on L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who controls 4 votes on the 13-member MTA Board. The $1.7 billion light rail line is scheduled to begin construction in 2012.

“The Mayor has an important decision to make and it’s about his legacy,” said Jackie Ryan, past president of the Leimert Park Village Merchants Association. “Does he want to be forever known as the Mayor who voted to put the nail in the coffin of the last African-American business corridor in Los Angeles, or the Mayor who provided for Crenshaw the greatest economic revitalization opportunity ever.”

2 of the 3 miles of the line that travels on Crenshaw Blvd is to be built underground. But “the final mile” in Park Mesa Heights from 48th to 59th Street is currently designed at street-level right next to View Park Prep School and a block away from Crenshaw H.S.

MTA’s street-level plan in Park Mesa Heights would also have severe impacts to future development and current businesses, the majority of which are African-American operated. The street-level plan would require: the removal of nearly half the parking on Crenshaw Blvd, the prohibition of left turns at streets like 54th, trains to cross every 2 ½ minutes across busy intersections like Slauson Avenue, which is currently operating at the worst possible level of congestion (LOS F), and 4-5 long years of disruptive street-level construction. During street-level construction on 3rd Street on the recently completed Gold Line Eastside Extension 90% of the businesses were put in the red, and multiple businesses were forced to close their doors.

“The Mayor needs to get on board and bring his block of votes with him,” said Damien Goodmon, Chair of Crenshaw Subway Coalition. “It is what we as a community group have been requesting and organizing towards for 4 years. Every other politician who represents South L.A. has stepped up in full support of the Ridley-Thomas motion.”

“South L.A.’s political versions of the Hatfields and the McCoys are united on this issue,” said Winnifred Jackson of the Hyde Park Organization Partnership for Empowerment (HOPE), a community-based group in the Hyde Park community that would be impacted by the street-level plan. “It’s a level of political unity not seen in generations. If Antonio Villaraigosa turns his back on us now, when the money has been identified, and as a consequence MTA builds their business-killing street-level plan through Park Mesa Heights, he can look forward to his name being mentioned right next to other despised officials like former LAPD Chief William Parker. We won’t ever forget it.”

A report released last Thursday by the MTA staff identified $2 billion dollars in resources that can be used to fund the Ridley-Thomas motion without compromising the delivery of any Measure R project. The cost of the changes to the Crenshaw-LAX Line project are projected between $339-400 million.

“We’ve been door knocking, phone banking, holding community meetings, getting petitions signed and writing letters,” said Goodmon. “We’ll be at Thursday’s board meeting by the hundreds to support the Ridley-Thomas motion. We applaud the Supervisor for stepping up to the plate to represent the Crenshaw community’s interest and the interest of transit users throughout the region who value safe and fast rail transportation. Mayor Villaraigosa needs to do the same.”

Popularity: 1% [?]

Help Win “THE DECISION”

Posted by Fix Expo Team On May - 22 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

We have less than 4 days until the huge MTA Board vote on Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ motion to underground the entirety of the Crenshaw-LAX Line on Crenshaw Blvd and return the Leimert Park Village station to the project.  Here’s what you can do to help win this monumental vote, which will determine the future of Crenshaw Blvd for the next hundred years.

1) ATTEND THE BOARD MEETING

There are nearly 400 seats in the MTA Board room chambers. Each of them need to be filled with supporters of the motion.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and free chartered buses will depart from the Crenshaw District at 7:30 a.m. To RSVP for a seat email crenshaw@fixexpo.org or call: 323-761-6435.

2) SEND AN EMAIL NOW

The MTA Board members have heard from a lot of us, but they have not heard enough of us. Send an email to the board members at crenshaw@fixexpo.org and jacksonm@metro.net

Request that they “Please support the Mark Ridley-Thomas Crenshaw-LAX Line motion.” Here’s a sample email:

Dear MTA Board Members,

I’m writing to respectfully request you vote to support Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ Crenshaw-LAX Line motion. The motion will increase the speed and reliability of service to LAX, eliminate the safety hazards of street-running trains on Crenshaw Blvd, and provide for travelers the opportunity to easily access Leimert Park Village, a cultural gem for the region. While we do need more rapid transit in Los Angeles, MTA need not do it in a manner that will kill Southern California’s last African-American business corridor with 4-5 years of disruptive street-level construction in Park Mesa Heights. Instead, MTA should build the Crenshaw-LAX line in a manner that provides a full opportunity for economic revitalization, which will provide a long-term return on our public investment. Adopting the Ridley-Thomas motion will place us in a position to accomplish this important objective of mass transit projects.

Thank you.

3) SPREAD THE WORD

- Tweet this, facebook it, text it, LinkedIn it, email it.

- Please also download and liberally distribute our two-sided flyer here: 1.3 MB pdf

- We’ve created a comment form so people can communicate their support for the Ridley-Thomas motion in written form. Circulate these at meetings/gatherings/church, at your business, among your neighbors, etc. Download it. (Please mail the forms by May 23rd or fax them by May 25th to ensure they are included in the public record).

    Popularity: 1% [?]

    May 12 Mtg

    Posted by Fix Expo Team On May - 7 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

    We have JUST 19 DAYS to get organized to impact one of the biggest decisions in South L.A. history.

    Please join us at our next meeting to: learn more about why the MTA decision was delayed until the May 26th meeting, find out which politicians we intend to target, and to better equip yourself to educate and mobilize our community on the Mark Ridley-Thomas Crenshaw-LAX Line motion to underground the entirety of the line on Crenshaw Blvd and RETURN to the project the Leimert Park Village station. Click here to read the motion.

    This will be the final community organizing meeting of our organization before: “THE DECISION.”

    Thursday, May 12, 2011
    6:45 – 8:30 PM

    US Bank Community Room
    5760 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (map)

    To download the two-sided flyer for the meeting that includes an overview of the issue click here: 1.3 MB pdf

    Popularity: 2% [?]

    Leimert Park Deserves A Station

    Posted by Fix Expo Team On May - 7 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

    Young Drummer Boy on 43rd Place in Leimert Park Village - LA Times

    So says Hector Tobar lays it down in his LA Times column by offering for the first time on the paper’s pages, a historical context of our fight to underground the entirety of the portion of the Crenshaw-LAX Line on Crenshaw Blvd and RETURN to the official plans the Leimert Park Village station that was in all of the previous plans. Leimert Park Deserves a Light-Rail Station:

    When I was a kid, I had a map with a dotted line for the Beverly Hills Freeway. It was going to run just south of my East Hollywood neighborhood, plowing through the Fairfax district on its way to the sea, bulldozing a mansion or two along the way.

    It was never built, of course.

    Another dotted line on that same map marked the Century Freeway, Interstate 105, which was built. Caltrans cut a gaping no-man’s land through South L.A. and Lynwood years before construction began, and so fostered crime and urban decay.

    Working-class L.A. bore the brunt of the sacrifice in the building of L.A.’s massive transportation network. Communities of color were especially hard-hit.

    [....]

    Considering all the poor policy decisions inflicted on black L.A. over the years, you’d think today’s leaders would be falling all over themselves to get it right this time.

    And the church said, “Amen.” Read the entire article, its truly a gem.

    See also:

    Last week’s LA Sentinel editorial: Leimert Park Station, A Must

    Last week’s column by Dr. Anthony Samad in Our Weekly, titled Crenshaw Rail Line: Let’s Avoid Being Taken for a Ride:

    How we position ourselves on this mass transit infrastructure issue will speak volumes on how we impact the economic growth and prosperity of Leimert Park Village and the Hyde Park Business District. What we cannot allow is the underdevelopment of mass transit that tends to ghettoize urban communities.

    Urban centers are designed around two things: schools and mass transit. Business comes where the transit stops, and homeowners come where the schools are. The money then follows both.

    Until our community understands that mis-designing mass transit is a detriment to the economic development prospects of our community, we will never see the change we desire.

    When we get it, they get it. We just have to show MTA the Crenshaw community now gets it and make they get it, too. We know what we want in our communities. With the community watchdogs and policy sophistication we have now, they’ll never mis-design another rail system … and that’s a good thing.

    This week’s column by Dr. David Horne in Our Weekly, titled Transportation and Representation: It’s Time to Put Up or Shut Up:

    The board can vote to include underground construction of the rail line in the area, and a preferred stop on Vernon and Crenshaw, so foot traffic will easily take tourists and business investors straight to Leimert Park Village, with its many retail shops and cultural cuisine items.

    But the board will have to be convinced to do so. In order for that proposal to be successful, we all need some real booties in the balcony. Black folk need to be seen in the aisles, halls and in the seats to demonstrate our sustained interest in the supervisor’s proposal. No people, no pressure, and no positive vote. That’s how it works. So get there.

    Popularity: 1% [?]

    Help with the decision making

    Help Win “THE DECISION”

    We need your help to win “THE DECISION” on the Crenshaw subway & Leimert Park Village station: attend the MTA board mtg, email the MTA board, and spread the word.

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    MTA now has more resources that by law has to be spent on rapid transit expansion. Now is our time to request these resources go toward FIXING EXPO!

    Responding to MTA Spin & Deception

    A comprehensive response to the spin, red herrings, and half-truths delivered by MTA/Expo, complete with agency memos, testimony, studies, pictures, videos and all.

    Separate & Unequal: Expo Phase 1

    Compare the design of the Expo Line Phase 1 west of La Cienega to that in majority-minority South LA and it’s clear that Expo Phase 1 is textbook environmental racism.

    TAG CLOUD